Urge the South Dakota Department of Health to Appoint a Dementia Coordinator
With more than 18,000 South Dakotans living with Alzheimer's and 39,000 supporting them as family caregivers, Alzheimer's is a public health crisis in South Dakota. Numerous state agencies administer a variety of programs critical to people with dementia, such as Medicaid, caregiver supports, health care facility licensure, training requirements, and elder abuse protections. But, these efforts are often siloed, with multiple agencies working separately from each other. Active coordination between all state agencies, the governor, the legislature, and community stakeholders will ensure that South Dakota is addressing Alzheimer’s as a public health crisis, enable greater implementation of the State Plan and reduce the long-term impact of the disease on the state budget while improving the lives of people with dementia and their caregivers. The Alzheimer’s Association is urging the Department of Health to appoint a full-time dementia coordinator to begin this work.
Incorporate a Strategy to Fight Alzheimer's in the State Plan on Aging
The South Dakota Department of Human Services, which oversees the Division of Long Term Services and Supports, is in the process of developing a new five-year State Plan on Aging. The current State Plan on Aging is 163 pages long, but only mentions the word "dementia" three times. To better integrate strategies for Alzheimer's and dementia care in DHS priorities, the Alzheimer’s Association is calling on the department to include our State Plan to Address Alzheimer's Disease and Other Dementias in the next version of the State Plan on Aging.
Expand Access to Structured Family Caregiving
South Dakota recently launched the Structured Family Caregiving service, which supports in-home caregivers who care for individuals eligible for home and community-based services through the Medicaid HOPE waiver. The service aims to allow people to keep living at home and receive services from a family member or someone they live with by providing reimbursement to the caregiver. Currently, fewer than 100 people are utilizing this program in part due to a low awareness of the program and narrow eligibility requirements. The Alzheimer’s Association is calling on legislators to help increase participation in Structured Family Caregiving through increased public awareness and expanded eligibility requirements to better serve people with dementia and their family caregivers.
South Dakota State Plan Overview
The South Dakota Alzheimer’s Disease State Plan Work Group was established in 2015 and expanded in April 2017 to a larger group of stakeholders, charged with creating the state’s response to Alzheimer’s. The Work Group conducted a comprehensive needs assessment and hosted town halls across the state, paid in part by a South Dakota Community Foundation Community Innovation Grant. In June 2018, the South Dakota State Plan to Address Alzheimer’s Disease and Other Dementias was published.
South Dakota State Advocacy Day
January 19, 2021
Join fellow Alzheimer’s advocates for an exciting week of virtual advocacy urging South Dakota’s state lawmakers to support people with dementia and their families. Beginning on Tuesday, January 19, 2021, we will launch four days of video conferences with legislators, phone calls, emails, and letters to the editor to encourage legislators to sponsor and support our priority legislation. A training call with all registrants will be hosted by our Public Policy Director prior to the Week of Action.